Ukraine talks postponed as Kiev blames Russian ‘sabotage’
Kiev on Tuesday accused Moscow of sabotaging Ukraine crisis talks, after a meeting in Minsk aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine was postponed.
Officials from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mediator group decided to postpone the meeting with representatives of pro-Russian separatists, OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini told journalists.
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, viewed as close to the Ukrainian negotiator Leonid Kuchma, cited a Ukrainian source as accusing the Russian representative of being to blame for the breakdown of talks.
“Russia’s representative, Azamat Kulmukhametov, left the meeting room. In this way, Russia practically sabotaged the group meeting,” the source said.
Separatist negotiator Denis Pushilin representing the eastern Donetsk region said the meeting in Minsk was “difficult” and saw “disagreements on procedure,” without giving details.
A source close to the negotiations in the Belarussian capital, cited by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti, said the sides could hold a fresh meeting on June 16.
Peace talks on Ukraine resumed in Minsk on May 6 as clashes have intensified on the ground in a conflict that has killed more than 6,400 people since April 2014.
The talks are aimed at enforcing the implementation of a peace deal reached in Minsk on February 12, leading to an extremely fragile ceasefire that is regularly breached across the eastern conflict zone.